A visit to...Brouwerij De Leckere
Brewery De Leckere was founded in 1997 with the ambition to brew completely organically. For the first 10 years, De Leckere had some tough times. Since 2007, the brewery has been owned by Eric Odenwald. He is steadily building a stable, fully organic brewery. And with success, during our visit in De Meern it becomes clear that the current setup can hardly meet the demand. "The biggest challenge now is to get everything out of the brewing installation that is in it", says brewery manager Gijs.
The future looks good: the plans for a new brewery are there and in October 2017 De Leckere opens the Werkspoorcafé at the newest hot spot in Utrecht.
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According to Gijs, the current brewing installation is challenging enough. "You can see fermentation tanks in different sizes that have been gradually expanded over the years. That also makes it fun and challenging, because it is constantly playing around to get everything out."A lot is done manually in the brewery. That means working hard for the brewing team, which consists of Eric, Anne and Iris.
"In the first month you'll lose 10kg here, you can cancel your gym subscription", says Eric. He had to get used to the physical aspect at the beginning, but it is especially satisfying. Besides the fact that beer is a tangible product, he says: "You can hold a glass of beer. People drink it and enjoy it, how cool is that!"
New tasting room with a brewery
The passion and love for the brewing world is tangible here. Nevertheless, everyone at De Leckere is looking forward to the opening of the Werkspoorcafé and the planned move to the new brewery. "In mid-October 2017, we will open the doors of Werkspoor Café De Leckere, our new tasting room in the Werkspoorkwartier," says Frank, who maintains contacts with customers. It must be the hot spot of the Werkspoorkwartier. "In mid-2018, the brewery will move to its new location, which is now industrial heritage. Previously, trains, locomotives and bridges were built." he continues. The new brewery and the Werkspoor Café will soon be less than 100 meters apart. "This is ideal for guided tours, tastings and events. In addition, we aim for a brewery that is as self-sufficient as possible, with which we take the next steps in the area of sustainability."
Hundreds of factors
The challenges presented by the current installation are expressed by brewer Eric as follows: "The result of your beer depends on hundreds of factors, see it as hundreds of buttons that you can turn on. I want to know what happens to the beer when I turn that one knob. Then I have to make sure that all other buttons are the same. That is ultimately the challenge for every brewer. "The new brewery must make this aspect easier, that is why Eric is looking forward to the new brewery. "The handiwork here is very beautiful and certainly has its charm. In addition, the result is good, but with a more automated brewery you can easily keep those variables the same."
Full organic brewing is not the easiest way to walk. The purchase of raw materials must be completely organic. De Leckere therefore only works with regular suppliers for its organic malt. The hop is that too, which is more difficult to realize. "Hop is a challenge, because organic hops are grown on a smaller scale," says brewery manager Gijs. "That's why the purchase of organic hops is more difficult, but so far it has always been successful."
The regular assortment of De Leckere consists of a wide choice of tasteful, fully organic beers, which every beer lover will appreciate. In addition, De Leckere also regularly produces special brews that are more experimental. In the new brewery, there will be more room for this, says Gijs: "The new brewery will have at least 6x more capacity and we can brew more at the same time. That gives room for more experimentation and to develop new beers. "
Brouwer Eric is delighted about this. "I also brew at home, then I work on new recipes, among other things." His work is really his hobby.